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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


GA/10082
15 October 2002

Fifty-seventh General Assembly
Plenary
29th & 30th Meetings (AM & PM)

DELEGATES IN DAY-LONG GENERAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE CONCERNED ABOUT
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN SECURITY COUNCIL WORK METHODS


As the General Assembly continued its discussion of the work and reform of the Security Council today, speakers expressed concern about the continued lack of transparency in the working methods of the organ responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security.

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Statements

MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) recalled that during his country's presidency, the Council had held many meetings pertaining to different parts of the world and had introduced a monthly meeting on the Middle East.  The Council had deployed intensive efforts to deal with the “ticklish” problems of Africa, with a view to settling conflicts there.  Syria had left no stone unturned in conducting Council deliberations with a view to reaching positions that served peace and ended war.  The dispatch of missions to hotbeds of conflict was important in assessing situations on the ground at first hand, and the Council had achieved tangible progress.

Yet, the Council had failed to follow up on the implementation of its own resolutions and had been unable to maintain international peace and security, he said.  Israel had rejected and ignored its resolutions, the implementation of which the Council should have insisted upon.  There should be no double standards in the Council’s enforcement of its resolutions by all States, he stressed. 

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VALERY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine), ...

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... In the Middle East, resolutions had been adopted that could bring about peace, but instead of complying with them, the protagonists had stepped up the violence.

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J. GABRIEL VALDÉS (Chile) ...

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While expressing appreciation for the attention the Council had given to the Middle East, he noted that the use of the veto had hindered progress in that area.  The situation in Iraq also represented a special challenge to the Council, which should adopt united decisions on that issue.  He welcomed the decision to hold an open debate on Iraq.

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DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said his country supported the expansion of the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership because, as the Secretary-General had stated, it was insufficiently representative.  He said his country was keen to gain a better understanding of the reasoning behind many of the Council's critical decisions.  As Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa had put forward recommendations to help resolve the Middle East Crisis, but the Council had not responded.

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CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON (Gambia) ...

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Pointing out that the Council still had a full conflict-management agenda, he said that in the Middle East its resolutions for permanent peace had been ignored.  He called upon all States to abide by the principle of the Charter and resolve conflicts peacefully.

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ISMAEL GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), ...

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As the guarantor of international peace and security, he said, the Council had discussed issues of international terrorism, the Middle East crisis, Afghanistan, the Great Lakes crisis, Angola, Western Sahara, Sierra Leone, East Timor and others.  In view of the resurgent wave of violence in the Middle East, Security Council efforts to facilitate a return to the negotiating table would be welcome.

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STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica) said the record showed that significant work had been done in monitoring peacekeeping operations to promote peace and harmony in war-torn areas.  That activity had been reasonably successful and should remain an important priority for the Council.  He was, however, less satisfied with the Council’s efforts in relation to the Middle East, where renewed violence required specific and urgent attention.  The Council’s approach could be more proactive in containing the conflict and in advancing negotiations for a peaceful and durable settlement of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, he said. 

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LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) ...

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... It must intensify efforts to address the situations in Somalia, Cyprus, Prevlaka, West Africa and Western Sahara as well as the situation in the Middle East.  Eight years of debate on Council reform was sufficient.  What was needed now was a “meeting of the minds” to resolve the stagnation in the Working Group.  Only with the elimination of the veto could the Council become a genuine forum for deliberations.  A more democratic, transparent and effective Council was needed. 

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NASSER AL-KIDWA, Observer for Palestine, said that on a positive note, the Security Council had held many open meetings on the Middle East situation during the reporting period, adopting four resolutions, including one that envisaged two independent States -- Israel and Palestine.  Yet there had also been many serious, negative aspects of the Security Council’s consideration of that situation.  The United States had vetoed one resolution and refused to consider other drafts on the situation, he noted.  Because of owing to the actions of one permanent representative, the Security Council had been unable to address the South African proposals concerning a Council mission to the region, he said.  Moreover, it had been unable to stand up to Israel regarding the fact-finding mission concerning the events in Jenin earlier this year. 

Israel had not implemented Council resolutions 1402 (2002) or 1403 (2002), he pointed out.  He said that over the years, the Council had adopted 37 resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, 27 of them concerning the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to abide by the Geneva Conventions.  Yet Israel had not abided by any of them.


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